Smartphone interventions for long-term health management of chronic diseases: an integrative review

Telemed J E Health. 2014 Jun;20(6):570-83. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2013.0243. Epub 2014 May 1.


Introduction: Long-term health management is challenging for the rapidly growing number of patients with chronic diseases. Smartphone interventions offer promising solutions. This article presents features of smartphone interventions for long-term chronic condition management, illustrating how these applications benefit patients with chronic diseases.

Materials and methods: Systematic searches for smartphone health interventions were conducted in five publication databases. Articles were included only if (1) the smartphone application (app) was exclusively developed for patients with chronic diseases and (2) the article incorporated a defined outcome measurement to evaluate the effects of the implemented intervention. Sixteen articles were included in the final review, including studies in diabetes, mental health problems, overweight, cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Results: These studies found that the smartphone intervention was a completely or at least partially effective tool to assist in managing some chronic diseases. With the help of health-related smartphone apps, patients with chronic conditions (1) felt secure in the knowledge that their illnesses were closely monitored, (2) participated in their own health management more effectively, and (3) felt that they had not been forgotten by their doctors and were taken good care of even outside the hospital/clinic.

Conclusions: However, there are limited smartphone apps for the long-term health management of chronic diseases. More smartphone apps need to be developed to help people manage chronic diseases.

Keywords: chronic disease; health management; mobile health; smartphone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Phone / statistics & numerical data*
  • Chronic Disease / therapy*
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care / methods
  • Male
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Needs Assessment
  • Telemedicine / instrumentation*
  • United States